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October 2011

Don’t Be So Mean to the Titans of Tomorrow

Julia steers us to this exchange between the Independent’s Joan Smith and pocket radical Laurie Penny. In it, Laurie tells us that what we’ve seen unfold over the last few weeks (and laughed at quite a lot) are merely the “teething problems” of a “movement that is trying to do something so profoundly new and exciting with politics.”

Readers may find this a strange, rather implausible construal of events, given that what we’ve seen has for the most part been predictable and, if anything, defined by a mix of hackneyed delinquencyhypocrisy and obnoxious grandstanding. Note too how any public scepticism is blamed on the rest of us not being “prepared to listen.” Which, again, is somewhat odd, bearing in mind how many hours of role-play, pretension and incoherent ranting have been fuelling our scepticism and laughter. For all the blather about “dialogue” and “creating space for dialogue,” what we’ve actually seen is much closer to monologue.

“Coming up with an action plan for a new world order takes time,” says Laurie. Yet despite the utopian bluster and mutterings of revolution, the protests seem headed for one of two conclusions. Either they fizzle out due to lack of interest, squalor and general tedium, leaving someone else to foot the bill and clear up the mess - the symbolism of which should not pass unnoticed. That, or they culminate in violence and riots. Neither conclusion invites much in the way of sympathy or hopes of a brighter, fluffier world. Laurie also tells us that the failure to generate a coherent, remotely practical set of demands is due to “attacks from a hostile press while surviving sub-zero temperatures in central London.” Yes, some people have been laughing at Laurie and her incredibly radical peers, which is beastly and mean. Plus it’s been a bit nippy. So, clearly, it’s nothing to do with the kind of people taking parthow they behave or what they actually say.

Among the more charming examples of which, this little lesson in “what democracy looks like”: 

Anonymous plans to take down the Fox News Web site on November 5, according to a new video apparently released by the hacker group. The group said it is targeting the network for what it called biased news coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests occurring in cities across the country. The network’s “continued right-wing, conservative propaganda against the occupations” is the group’s catalyst for its intention of “destroying the Fox News Web site,” a digitally generated voice on the video explains. “Since they will not stop belittling the occupiers, we will simply shut them down.”

If the message isn’t sufficiently clear, let me paraphrase:

“See the world how we see it or we will hurt you.”

But fear not. Laurie says it’s all being done “in order to model the sort of society of mutual aid and trust that occupiers would like to see.” And based on what we’ve witnessed so far, I’m sure the rest of us would just love to see that model realised on an even larger scale. No?

Update, via the comments:

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Reheated (21)

For newcomers, three more items from the archives.

Ambient Truth.

Made-up facts will do just as well.

A 19-year-old freshman ransacked her own room and scrawled racial slurs across its walls before curling into a foetal ball, supposedly in shock. When this “hate crime” was revealed as a hoax, Otis Smith, a regional president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, was remarkably untroubled. That the events had been staged and then lied about was, he said, “largely irrelevant.” He added, “It doesn’t matter to me whether she did it or not because of all the pressure these black students are under at these predominantly white schools. If this will highlight it, if it will bring it to the attention of the public, I have no problem with that.”

I’m Not Condoning Violence, But…

When “being heard” means being obeyed. A lesson in leftist euphemism.

Ms Allen tells us, “I was truly overwhelmed by the vast police presence… Feeling threatened in my own community is upsetting but the truth is people feel completely disempowered, and for some resorting to last night’s actions seems the only way people will listen.” Strangely, Ms Allen shows little concern for other local residents who had no choice but to listen and who may have been “upset” by the fruits of her campaign. Unless of course they found comfort in the smell of burning, the sound of windows being smashed and the territorial chant of “Whose street? Our street!” These things, presumably, are an acceptable cost - provided Ms Allen and her colleagues get what they want.

Meanwhile, in the Arts.

Liquidised carrots, moths and bras, and a fat, naked narcissist jumps around in talc.

Here’s Austrian artist and choreographer Doris Uhlich, whose “vigorous and critical” hour-long performance More Than Enough “takes ironic revenge on the standardisation of the body.” It’s a “bodily and textual discussion of flesh and opulence,” in which Uhlich “asks herself and her audience how the body can become a trademark and what this means.” This radical feat is achieved by reciting Baudelaire, throwing talcum powder around and making several phone calls: “I’m calling you because I’m fat...”

And by all means gorge yourselves on the updated greatest hits.

Friday Ephemera

Fly Geyser, Hualapai Valley, Nevada. (h/t, MeFi) // Superconductor sorcery. (h/t, Nick Pullar) // Those public spending cuts. // The debt crisis illustrated. // Don’t aim your laser pointer at a police helicopter. // That’s some starboard firepower. // The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault. // Ants and spiders seen up close. // Age test. // The Avengers. // The robots are coming (slowly). // Tilting San Francisco. // Tube amplifier of note. // A pig for all your power needs. (h/t, Dr Westerhaus) // Envy and pride. // Lenticular clouds. // Wet koala. // William Shatner’s Bohemian Rhapsody. // After which, you’ll probably want need a glass of this.

Elsewhere (50)

Heather Mac Donald mingles with the protestors in Zuccotti Park, New York:

Henry, a delicate, doe-eyed anthropology and interdisciplinary-studies major from the University of Alabama, came up to New York a week ago with the blessings of his professors, who are undoubtedly celebrating the long-hoped-for revival of 1960s student activism. The chance that his courses are so demanding that his open-ended leave of absence will jeopardise his grades is zero. “It’s obvious that the good guys are fighting the bad guys,” he said. “It’s a question of good v. evil. Bad guys serve themselves, seeking individual gain; they’ve forgotten what it means to be a good guy. You can be rich, but you shouldn’t try to get richer, because you make people poor by getting richer.”

Remember, Henry is a student, one of tomorrow’s intellectuals.

Lexington Green visits a similar gathering in Chicago:

One young man got up and said the group needed to occupy “a field or warehouse” and create their “own space.” This was discussed seriously. I left after two hours, with the meeting still ongoing. […] 

I was struck by how this movement is replicating note for note the Left movements of the 1960s, but recreating it all over again from scratch. Rambling, poorly organised meetings, a requirement of unanimity to do anything, a repudiation of politics as usual, a vague call for some kind of deep social transformation, a desire for immersion in mass activity, a call for communal living. It is as if the last 50 years never happened and the past has no lessons at all.

And not entirely unrelated, Evan Maloney explains the story behind his film Indoctrinate U:

Academia today is focussed only on diversity of appearance… In an odd way, conservatives get a better education than anyone left of centre because their views are getting challenged. If I were a left of centre student, I could spend four years in a college and not once have any of my most basic assumptions challenged. 

As usual, feel free to add your own.

I Am Radically Repeating What I Was Told

Or, I Know, Let’s Put These People in Charge.

Via Kate, and further to this and this, more radical wisdom from the “occupiers,” or would-be nomenklatura. This time in Oakland, California, where ideas tend to get tangled and obligatory terms, such as “fair” and “justice,” are invariably self-serving yet curiously undefined. With the result that running a successful business is is a sign of “domination” and deemed “obscene,” but communism – all history to the contrary – isn’t.

Remember, these bright young things have been educated. And so greed is bad but covetousness is good and entirely unrelated. And the solution to cronyism is more cronyism, albeit with different beneficiaries and an even more bloated and coercive state. “Social justice” will somehow save us all, especially from ourselves, even though “social justice,” as conceived by their predecessors, led directly to this. Which helped create the very problem the protestors now complain about. But hey, they, unlike you, the filthy bourgeoisie, have “decent impulses.”

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Remember, Kids. Socialism is the Opposite of Greed

The clip below comes via Darleen and is copied from the latest update to this extended post. But it captures one of those special moments and is possibly worth repeating. From Occupy Wall Street:

Because socialism is never, ever about being selfish or opportunist or exploitative. Or greedy. Ahem.


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A Better World

Andrew Breitbart takes a stroll through the crowds at Occupy LA. 

Note that Breitbart is accused of “spreading violence” by a woman who then indignantly denies saying any such thing – despite having said it on camera - all while Breitbart is stalked by a union heavy, whose purpose, presumably, is to intimidate. Like some socialist antibody. The exchange at the end of the clip needs no further comment from me.

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Friday Ephemera

Band on wheels. // Oil and water. // Toroidal vortices. // Dark matter visualised. // View the Himalayas in comfort. (h/t, Coudal) // This is made of Lego. // The inverted skyscraper. // A partially edible toy piano. // Split decision pie pan. // A Menger sponge made from post-it notes. (h/t, Things) // Lovely, lovely slime molds. // Nature by Numbers. // World’s largest violin is just about playable. // Bear eats four pizzas, doesn’t pay. // More abandoned theatres. (h/t, MeFi) // VJ Day, Waikiki, 1945. // Why Elizabeth Warren is wrong. (Or, you do not belong to the state.) // So what is the state for? // Solar prominences. // Silencing U.

Elsewhere (49)

Heather Mac Donald on opportunist victimhood and the inability to process satire:

That script [of campus political correctness] requires that the massive campus-diversity bureaucracy treat the delusional claims of hyperventilating students with utter seriousness. Students in the ever-expanding roster of official campus victim groups flatter themselves that by attending what is in fact the most caring, protective, and opportunity-rich institution in the history of the world, they are braving unspeakable threats to their ego and even to their physical safety.

Heresy Corner on the rather selective hand-wringing of Madeleine Bunting:

Notice how, for Maddy, the fact that the treatment of women under the Taliban was used by the US and British governments as part - if only part - of the justification for war is of greater consequence than the condition of women itself.

Ms Bunting’s appetite for sorrow will be known to regular readers.

And Jeff Goldstein distills the, er, logic of “diversity”

You can’t end racial discrimination by ending racial discrimination. In fact, racial discrimination is the only way to prevent racial discrimination - the upshot of which is that, thanks to racial discrimination, racial discrimination is no longer a problem, provided you learn to view certain racial discrimination as non-discriminatory, and provided you learn to couch any questions about such racial discrimination as racist and discriminatory.

Because, as we’ve been told, the way to get past small differences in physiology is to continually fixate on small differences in physiology.

Update, via Anna & SDA:

Continue reading "Elsewhere (49)" »